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correspondences most uselessly preserved and reprinted? As to Sir Richard's reiterated professions of the purest motives, they appear to ús unnecessary : but of this every man can best judge for himself.
We must add that this volume is so cheap, in proportion to the existing prices, that the writer, who is perhaps better known to the world as a bookseller than as a sheriff, may be reasonably suspected of an intention to expose the extortion of his brethren in the trade. In perusing it, we have been tempted, however, to wish that it were twice as dear, and contained but half its present materials ; omitting almost all the letters, and a large proportion of the comments; and preserving little more than the facts stated, with extracts from particular acts of Parliament. All that is valuable in the publication would then have a fair chance of being universally read. - We now close it, without farther exposure of faults, in the hope that it may be found serviceable to the public, by exciting the attention of the respectable gentry who are called to the office of sheriff in their several counties and by proving that, in a great variety of instances, the most important reformations are fortunately the most practicable.
ART. IV. A History of the Island of St. Helena, from its Discovery
by the Portuguese to the Year 1806 ; to which is added an Ap. pendix. By T: H. Brooke, Secretary to the Government of St. Helena. 8vo. Pp. 409.
los. 6d. Boards. Black and Co. A
RESIDENCE of fifteen years at St. Helena, and access to
the official records of the island, must be supposed to have ́rendered Mr. Brooke fully competent to write its description and its history : but' when we also consider the perspicuity of his style, and the judgment discovered in his reflections, we are disposed to regret that a mind, which is evidently equal to undertakings of more general interest, should have confined its exertions to a topic of such limited attraction. We are, however, glad to receive this volume from his hands, and may hope hereafter to obtain more important proofs of his assiduity and information.
The superficial extent of the island, as we are told by Mr. Brooke, is about 30,000 acres. It is divided by a lofty chain of hills, running nearly east and west in a curved direction; and from this chain, alternate ridges and valleys branch off in various quarters.
The summits of several of these hills are very elevated ; and one of them, Diana's Peak, rises nearly 2700 feet above the level of the sea. The extent of the island is somewhat less than eleven miles by seven, Springs issue
from the side of almost every hill : but, as they have neither volume nor sufficient length of current, they form only in considerable rills. We consequently find 'no cascades of any magnitude, for although one stream projects its whole quantity from a height of about 300 feet perpendicular, it becomes a shower before it reaches the cavity below. - The author describes the romantic prospect of Sandy-bay in the follow ing words:
• The hills on the left, riehly clothed with trees to their very suma mits, display a wonderful contrast to the wild and grotesque nakedness which triumphs on the right, where shelving cliffs, surmounted by huge perpendicular or spiral masses of rock, are multiplied under every shape and aspect. The downward view consists of a variety of ridges, cminences, and ravines, converging towards the sea, into one common valley. Among this scenery are interspersed the dwellings of planters, the different forms of gardens and pla:tations, and the pasturing of cattle; the prospect closing with the distant sea, rushing in between two black, craggy cliffs, which the surf whitens with its spray.'
The climate may be considered as a medium between those of Europe and those of India, the height of situation coun. teracting the effects of vicinity to the Line. The use of the settlement to the public consists in its being a station of refreshment to homeward-bound Indiainen. South Sea whalers also resort thither, both for fresh provisions and for the protection of convoy in their passage home. The average number of ships which touch annually at St. Helena is 165. Provisions are consequently very dear, mutton being from 14d. to 18d. per Ib., pork 18d. to 20d., fowls gs. to 125., and geese 255. to 3os. The population, exclusive of the garrison, is somewhat above 2000, of whom three fourths are blacks. The price of labour is high, a mechanic requiring from five to seven slıillings a day. The sovereignty of the island is completely vested in the East India Company; and the military force consists of a corps of artillery, a regiment of infantry, and the island volunteers.
After having given a very distinct description of the island in his first chapter, Mr. Brooke proceeds to its history from its discovery by the Portuguese in 1501 on the 21st May, (the Anniversary of Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine,) to the present time. In this detail, we acknowlege that we have no wish to accompany him, the subject having, in our opinion, very little claim to general attention; and however important it may be to the East India Company to possess an accurate narrative of the conduct of the different Governors, and a collection of the principal island-acts and documents, as exhibited in Mr. Brooke's appendis, the public would have
been more gratified with a shorter statement. Omitting, therefore, that series of local transactions which have assumed a false magnitude in the author's eyes, we shall direct our attention to a few of the valuable observations with which he has interspersed his pages.
The advocate of humanity will learn with satisfaction that the history of St. Helena affords a striking example of the policy of a mild treatment of negroes. Until 1787, the laws relative to them were extremely severe, and conspiracies were frequent among them : but since they have been placed on a footing more suitable to men than to brutes, no insurrection or even serious risk has either taken place or been apprehended.} Until 1787, the evidence of blacks, although conclusive against persons of their own colour, was not admissible: against whites ; and we have some notable examples of the consequences of such a system. In 1785, Elizabeth Renton, a white inhabitant, in a fit of passion, stabbed one of her female, slaves with a carving knife; and the slave died in a few moments. The rerdict of the Coroner was “ wilful murder ;" and the grand jury presented a bill of indictment to the same effect : but, as the only witness was a black, and of course inadmissible against the accused, she escaped. In 1786, a planter named Worrall, and his slave, were detected in the act of sheep-stealing ; as the proofs against them rested on the testimony of blacks, the white man could not be brought to trial; but the slave was convicted and sentenced to death, although he had acted under the coercion of his master. Such was the law: but the judges were sufficiently equitable to reprieve him, and recommend him to pardon, which was granted.
In the early part of the history of the colony, a system of laws, founded on those of England, was introduced: but it was soon found too complicated for so small a settlement. It was therefore judged expedient to proceed by jury only in criminal cases, and to leave inatters of less import to the Governor and Council, who were reconuended not to have “their heads troubled with nice points of the common law of England ; but rather, on considering the reason of things, to adjudge of all cases in a summary way, according to equity and a good conscience, without tedious delays, or countenancing litigious persons in their vexatious proceedings.” Such was the commission given to the judges of St. Helena; and it deserves our attention not only as a plain and candid communication, but as a summary of judicial duty in any situation and in any country. How much would the inhabitants of Great Britain have gained in individual comfort, and how
much would they have saved in wasted labour, had the form of proceeding in our courts been fashioned on the plan of promptitude which is here recommended! This passage is an extract from the orders of the East India Company; and Mr. Brooke has quoted several of the communications front Leadenhall Street, written in the spirit of the old school, before the Directors became the sovereigns of an extensive territory All these letters bespeak the men of business ; they convey orders in a style of frankness and precision; and they express the motives of the Court in very plain terms, but with a fund of solid argument which would do no discredit to the more polished compositions of the present age.
The inhabitants of St. Helena, however, were not so forurate in receiving medical as in obtaining legal advice. The wetness of the climate and the moist qualities which they ascribed to yams, their principal article of food, made them imagine that an antidote to such evils was to be found only in the free use of spirituous liquors ; and they were confirmed in this notion by the superficial pretenders to medicine,, who in that age acted as surgeons on board of the Indiamen. We give an extract from the letter of a St. Helena Governor to the East India Company dated in 1717:
“ As an alteration of weather often happens here in less than an bour's space, from sultry heat to very cold, and the mountainy parts of the country are not only windy, but always exposed to great damps and fogs, even in the times we call the dry seasons, we are apt to think it easier to drink water for a constancy in England than in this place. The physical people we sometimes converse with (that is, the sisip-surgeons) tell us, that strong liquor is necessary to all people who have no other bread but these watery roots (for a yam is called the water parsnip); and we also find it 80 ; wherefore, though we shall encourage temperance and sobriety, as well by our example as, precept, yet it is in vain to dissuade the use of arrack
among these people, who prefer it before the choicest wines."
In treating of the internal economy of the island, Mr. Brooke describes emphatically the dangers of impounding the goats which feed at large on the cliffs and precipices. The negroes, inured to this task from their childhood, tread their way through ledges on which a single slip would prove destruction; while the shouts, by which they impel the goats towards the pound, are re-echoed through the abyss beneath The succeeding little anecdote may give some idea of the nature of the country:
• In the year 1934, a sailor, on his return from the country, wandered among the cliffs at Ladder Hill, which overbang the sea, and found himself at last in a place where he could acither turn, nor six
down, ner discover any method of escape. In this perilous situation he remained until the following morning, when perceiving a party going to swim, he threw his shoes down to attraci notice. He succeeded, and was soon relieved by the natives, who ventured within a few fathoms of him, and lowered down a rope, to which he fastened himself, and was hauled up."
Of the various governors whose tran tions are related in the present volume, Col. Brooke and Col. Patton will principally attract the reader's attention. Colonel Brooke had acquired reputation in the Company's service in Bengal, and was appointed Governor of St. Helena in 1788. One of his first acts was to disuse the practice of flogging among the military, and to rouse again that sense of shame which had been nearly extinguished by the application of the lash. He commuted stripes for labour, and separated from their comrades those who appeared hardened, allotting them a table by themselves under the expressive designation of the “ miscreants mess.” These marks of odium soon corrected even the worst among the soldiers; and so much improved did their condition become, that numbers of discharged men returning from India undertook a renewal of service in St. Helena. It was also under Governor Brooke that the fortifications in the heights were rendered effectual, the use of signals adopted, the access to the landing-place improved, the farther importation of slaves interdicted, and the condition of those who were resident on the island ameliorated. He likewise took a most active part in those exertions which terminated in the capture of seven sail of Dutch Indiamen, by the Sceptre man of war, in the year 1795. It deserves notice that the Malays, taken out of the Dutch ships, entered the British artillery service, and proved not only very useful but extremely peaceable in their conduct. A behaviour, so different from that which is often ascribed to them, is to be attributed to the manner in which they were treated. No European was suffered to strike or chastise them on any pretence whatever ; and they were punished by no other authority than the sentence of a court martial composed of Malay officers. These men were afterward sent to Ceylon, and a Malay regiment was engrafted on the two companies which had been thus trained at St. Helena.
On Governor Brooke's return home, Col. Patton became his successor in 1801. He had filled the situation of military secretary to the Government of Bengal, and was known to the public as the author of “ the. Principles of Asiatic Monarchies.” He was successful in improving the ordnance
• For a Review of this work, see M. R. N. S. Vol. 41. p. 285. REY. SEPT. 1809.